Options Bulls Target Mexico ETF Ahead of Trump Tariff Announcement

Trump will reportedly exempt Canada and Mexico from the import tax

Mar 8, 2018 at 3:03 PM
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The Dow was up triple digits earlier today on reports President Donald Trump will exempt Canada and Mexico from the steel and aluminum tariffs he's expected to implement later today. And while the blue-chip index has since erased these gains, the iShares MSCI Mexico Capped ETF (EWW) is keeping its head above water, last seen up 0.2% at $50.56. The fund's options pits are bustling, too, with one trader betting on a big rally over the next six weeks.

Taking a quick step back, 14,227 EWW calls have changed hands today -- four times what's typically seen at this point in the day, and volume pacing in the 97th annual percentile. As a point of comparison, fewer than 1,100 puts have traded, about one-fifth of the expected intraday amount.

The bulk of the action has centered on matching 5,000-contract blocks of April 52 and 56 calls. According to Trade-Alert, one speculator used the back-month calls to initiate a long call spread for an initial cash outlay of $440,000 (number of contracts * $0.88 net debit * 100 shares per contract).

Profit will accumulate on a move north of breakeven at $52.88 (bought strike + net debit), with the gain capped at the difference between the two strikes, less the net debit -- or $3.12 a spread, in this instance -- no matter how high the exchange-traded fund (ETF) climbs by expiration at the close on Friday, April 20. Risk is limited to the initial net debit, should EWW settle at or below the 52 strike at expiration, while smaller losses will be incurred if the shares remain below breakeven.

Technically, the fund hasn't traded north of $56 since last September, but was seen above $52 in late February. And while the shares are off 6.6% from their Jan. 25 year-to-date high of $54.65, they are holding above a key Fibonacci level, and are currently trading in their most bullish month of the year.

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